Last week Robert Chote, Chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility, told the Treasury Select Committee that allowing the OBR to cost party policies before an election would ‘offer the prospect of improving the quality of policy development for parties… and potentially improve the quality of public debate’. This question was raised in October last year when Ed Balls called for the OBR to ‘provide independent scrutiny and certification’ of Labour’s tax and spend commitments before the 2015 election. At present, the OBR is explicitly prohibited from considering ‘the effect of any alternative (non-government) policies’, and it looks unlikely that this ban will be lifted in time for the next general election. As part of our work on ‘Year Five’ of the Coalition, the Institute for Government has today published two case studies exploring pre-election policy costing mechanisms in Ireland and Australia. A third study, on the Netherlands, will follow shortly. We found that these mechanisms can improve the quality of policies and deliver more informed public debate by encouraging parties to be open about the costs of their proposals. Here we set out some of the lessons from international practice about how such systems work. One key lesson is […]

Original source – Blog

Comments closed